Freedom in Christ

The Problem With Forgiveness

No one will escape life without needing to forgive or be forgiven. It's a necessary aspect of a happier life.

At times though, we can cheapen its worth. We quickly instruct ourselves and others to forgive. Therefore we minimize situations and fail to recognize the extent of wrong that has been done.

I work often with those that have been sexually abused or have experienced huge loss. At times, situations have occurred years earlier and yet their cry for help is now. They have been told by well meaning others that forgiveness is the first step.

What does this do though? Firstly, it places more pain upon the one that has been wronged when they are so vulnerable. Rather than feeling supported and understood, responsibility is placed upon the weakened shoulders. They therefore feel the culprit.

Secondly, by simply stating that "you need to forgive", the full extent of a situation has not been recognized. The victim therefore is only left feeling inadequate and ashamed. 

Forgiveness is needed and is powerful. It brings one to freedom.

To thrust it though upon one in crisis, only adds to their burden and is cruel. 

Forgiveness needs to be given and should be practiced. Yet it is often more constructive and healing when one has been allowed to grieve.

It is more needed toward the end of the process rather than at the beginning.

 

The Beauty of Change

Have you ever been in circumstances where you know that change is crucial? Our mind and heart yells "no" to change but our freedom in Christ necessitates change. 

Our hearts may fluctuate in regards to change but still we must take action and decide to change our thinking for the better. The heart often lags behind and can be stubborn when it comes to change.

Freedom in Christ though takes time and hard decisions—decisions to not place ourselves in tempting situations. Decisions to stop dwelling upon and discussing painful scenarios.

Whether behaviors are learned or biological, one’s wants and desires take time to change but it is possible and necessary.

In Mark 7:21–23, it is written that it is not outside influence that makes us “unclean,” but it is the things that come from our hearts. 1 Corinthians 6:11 is the reminder that change is a possibility and that both the desires and actions can be overcome. In James 1:13–15, the author states that there is a battle against temptation; in Titus 2:12, we are instructed to say “no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.”

Change must involve redemptive prayer in which God, as our ultimate Father, heals us. We need to acknowledge that what we have chosen to do previously is sin.

Sin infiltrates the soul, body, and spirit and so we need to determine to change both lifestyle and attitude. This also means that to dive deep into the Word of God is a necessity.